Pilot project secures work for homeless

The Fish Hoek Business Improvement District has praised a pilot project that saw 16 homeless men deployed with trained security officers to patrol the CBD during the festive season. Pictured are some of the projects participants and supporters.

Sixteen homeless men have found new work opportunities thanks to a pilot project by The Haven Night Shelter.

In December last year, the shelter partnered with two security companies to provide basic security training to men who come from the Kalk Bay, Retreat and Napier shelters.

The men were deployed with trained security officers from the one security company to patrol Fish Hoek CBD during the festive season.

The founder of the security company, Manu Choudree, said the men were “very enthusiastic participants”. They had received basic security training and had been deployed with trained security officers for 12-hour shifts.

“They were a tremendous help during the festive season. They have served their time on the streets, and they know how to read the street,” he said, adding that they had helped with the arrests of two shoplifters.

The Haven Night Shelter CEO, Shaddie Valayadum, said the project was meant to help the participants find full-time employment.

The project was supported by SAPS, City Law Enforcement, and the Fish Hoek Business Improvement District (BID).

After a stint in Fish Hoek, the men started a three week security training course with the other security company on Sunday. The founder of that company, Giovanni Rossi, said the men would receive Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) grade training, firearm training, and basic life support training that is internationally recognised

Once they graduate, on Saturday January 27, they will be able to register with PSIRA, and several local businesses have agreed to employ them full-time, according to Mr Valayadum.

The participants had applied for police-clearance certificates and The Haven had provided them with uniforms, hats, and shoes, he said.

Fish Hoek police spokesman Warrant Officer Peter Middleton said: “This kind of proactive policing is good for the community and deters criminals.”

Fish Hoek BID chairman Marc Yates said: “We trust that this pilot is repeated this year and that we continue to see this partnership strengthen to assist us in keeping the CBD safe.”

Mr Valayadum said The Haven would continue to support the men for six months after they qualified and until they found alternative accommodation to help them transition into a working environment.

“As humanitarians working with the homeless, the ‘revolving door’ is counter-productive. With homeless people being upskilled and placed in employment, we hope to eliminate the revolving door and promote successful reunification,” he said.